Consider this a complement to Ace’s post wondering why the media seems so … incurious about a scandal where we’ve got (a) lurid accusations of sexual harassment and assault, (b) a politician copping publicly to inappropriate behavior yet refusing to resign, and (c) credible witnesses claiming that the local Democratic Party knew about it years ago and not only did nothing to stop him, they threatened pols who considered exposing him. But there’s one other element here that should, in a sane world, pique a reporter’s interest: (d) This guy was a congressman for 20 years. Everyone knows him as mayor of San Diego because that’s the office he holds right now, but he was a Democratic backbencher on the Hill since the early 90s. He’s been mayor for only eight months or so. According to Lori Saldana, the whistleblower cited in Ace’s post, women were complaining to her about Filner’s busy hands since 2011, more than a year before he left Congress. Which prompts the question: Who in Washington knew? And for how long?
To believe that there was no cover-up within the House Democratic leadership, you need to believe either that Filner’s harassment began only very recently, in the last few years, and/or that it was sporadic enough that none of the very few women he harassed chose to complain to anyone on the HIll. Given what you know about the number of women who’ve come forward — seven so far, and Saldana mentions that six women complained to her in 2011 — how likely is that? How probable is it that a guy who’s harassed this many women only developed his habit late in life and somehow kept it quiet enough that none of his hundreds of colleagues and their staff heard anything about it? (Pelosi refused to make any judgments about Filner as recently as 10 days ago before finally acknowledging on Friday, with the walls closing in on him politically, that what he did was reprehensible.) Realistically, there’s no way no one knew. And there are surely people on the Hill who know that some of them knew and could hand that information to a reporter at a moment’s notice. Not even our slanted, corrupt media would reject a cover-up scoop like that if it was offered on a silver platter. Any House Democrats or aides concerned enough about the “war on women” to drop a dime on Bob Filner’s congressional enablers?
Update: Via John Ekdahl, columnist Doug Curlee includes himself in the list of people who turned a blind eye to Filner’s jerkiness:
I’ve covered Bob Filner off and on since he was elected to the San Diego Unified School District Board in 1979. From the beginning, most of us saw how arrogant Filner was and is, how abusive he could be to his own staff members, how he felt elective office entitled him to be all those things and more.
We all saw that in Filner, and yet we did nothing about it. Filner was often a topic of conversation among us when we gathered at news conferences or when we would gather at the various watering holes many of us frequented together when off work…
We watch ever more highly credible women coming forward to tell their stories of encounters with Filner, and we should all be thinking, “I should have done that story. I should have asked, or demanded, the support to go after that story.”